The several essays that comprise Border Towns chase, worry, and trouble ideas about situation and reference. As a group, the essays’ topics—color, lycanthropy, African-Canadian history, cooking, public transit, etc.—make an unlikely field. But through all its pages the book traces and describes acts of situation; and— for all its werewolves, greengrocers, and paeans to miscegenation and migration—its interest is not in capturing but in “the shape of reference itself.” The title figure of the border town serves as a “beard” for the unassimilable. Border Towns—the book of essays—is perhaps, finally, a book about poetry. (“It often seems to me,” writes the author, “that one of the best uses to which prose can be put is describing poetry.”)
C. S. Giscombe is the author of several books of poetry, including Giscome Road and Here, both of which are available from Dalkey Archive Press. He has also published a memoir entitled Into and Out of Dislocation. He is the editor of Mixed Blood, a poetry journal, and teaches at the University of California at Berkeley.